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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkey Time




You know, there are two problems with spending Thanksgiving in Moscow, a girlfriend said recently. First, your mother isn't here to make the dinner and, second, you've got to start sucking up to people who cook so you can get on their guest list. I'll agree that saddling up to someone else's horn o'plenty is a nice option, but making Thanksgiving dinner is not exactly the culinary equivalent to splitting the atom.


To make a turkey dinner for six to eight people you'll need a 6- to 8-kilogram bird. The bird will need 5 1/2 to 6 hours of roasting time, so plan to get started by mid-morning. Remember: Tales abound of guests choking on turkeys cooked with the organs left inside. It isn't a pleasant job, but you've got to get elbow-deep to ensure all the nasties are removed (the nasties are actually nicies if you simmer them in 4 cups of water for 3 hours while the turkey is roasting, thus making a stock for gravy).


Wash the bird inside and out with cold water and then pat dry. The bird is now ready to be filled with about 8 cups of stuffing.


My roasting technique comes from a great cookbook, "The Cook's Bible." The recipe is simple and foolproof and the end result is an evenly cooked turkey that is moist and tender.


Heat the oven to 350?F (180?C) and brush the turkey generously with melted butter. This is the only basting required.


Place the turkey breast-side down in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the turkey and pan with aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to 200?F (110?C) and roast for 2 more hours.


Remove the turkey from the pan and turn the bird breast-side up. The reasoning behind the flipping of the bird is twofold: First, the breast meat is very moist because the juices are flowing into it for 3 hours, and, second, the bottom of the turkey will have usable meat as opposed to turkey-flavored sludge. Cover again in foil and roast for another 2 hours and 45 minutes. A meat thermometer is a handy little item at this juncture, taking the guesswork out of whether your bird's internal temperature is 160? to 170?F (80?C). Remove the turkey and increase the oven temperature to 400?F (200?C). When the oven is hot, remove the aluminum foil and roast for another 10 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 170? to 175?F (85?-90?C). Remove from the roasting pan and let the bird rest for 20 minutes before carving.


Remember those giblets simmering away on the stove? Remove them from the stock and put them in the dog's dish. Fill a jar half full of the liquid. Add either 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or 1/4 cup (50ml) of flour and shake well. Drain the fat from the roasting pan, place over medium heat, add the stock, then slowly add the thickened stock, stirring up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. A cup of white wine enhances the flavor of gravy. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.


Since you've done more than you ever imagined by hosting this dinner, get someone else to carve the turkey. When the guests have finally rolled out of your podyezd, pour a glass of wine, curse those thankless friends for not doing the dishes, and call your mother to tell her you'll be home for Thanksgiving next year.